DJ SESSION IN CASABLANCA: RUPTURE, MAGA BO, TALIESIN

last minute but hey – tonight we’re giving a free party at the Instituto Cervantes in Casablanca, Morocco. Info here (francais, arabic, espanol).

The party kicks off this week’s Beyond Digital series at the Instituto Cervantes. All events are free and open to the public, and will be conducted primarily in French.

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[photo by John Francis Peters]

Tomorrow, Wednesday June 22, we’ll be having a work-in-progress presentation on our Beyond Digital project.

And on Thursday June 23, Fader photo editor John Francis Peters will give a photo workshop session, walking us through his editing process and approach to documentary photography. His growing body of work here is stunning, check our weekly Fader updates for a taste.

 

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PROJET MUSICAL BEYOND DIGITAL
www.beyond-digital.org
Mardi 21, mercredi 22 et jeudi 23 juin

Beyond Digital présente un projet qui vise la relation qu’il y a entre le digital et le traditionnel dans le monde contemporain de la musique chaabi et bereber. Avec la collaboration d’une équipe internationale d’artistes, le projet explore le monde de cette musique à travers l’usage de la vidéo, de la photographie et de la collaboration musicale.

Mardi 21 juin à 21h DJ Sessions avec DJ/Rupture et Maga Bo. Deux DJs de renom international qui proposent une soirée sans frontières. Maga Bo: basse transnational. DJ/Rupture : rythmes inattendus, intelligent + dansant.

Mercredi 22 juin à 19h Introduction: work-in-progress (travaux en cours). L’équipe de Beyond Digital partage un échantillon du travail accompli jusqu’à présent à Casablanca : fragments de vidéo, musique, photographie, encore inachevés. Une invitation à venir débattre et à participer.

Jeudi 23 juin à 19h Atelier: édition de photographie. John Francis Peters, éditeur de photographie de la revue new-yorkaise Fader et photographe de Beyond Digital, nous montre ses photos faites à Casablanca et avec ce matériel – en plus d’autres ouvrages de photographie documentaire – nous propose un atelier participatif sur le travail d’édition.

BEYOND DIGITAL: OLD VINYL AND NEW POP IN CASABLANCA

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[M’hamed Tijdity at Le Comptoir Marocain de Distribution de Disques, photo by John Francis Peters for The Fader]

Head over to The Fader to check out the first of my weekly Morocco updates for the month of June, accompanied by photos from John Francis Peters and, of course, music.

excerpt 1:

Forget Bogart. Casablanca is an utterly modern city, North Africa’s largest, with traffic-choked roadways and upscale neighborhoods and swaths of shantytowns whose residents have satellite dishes but no running water. While most tourists skip Casa to spend their dirhams in more scenic towns, the gritty magnet metropolis pulls in folks from all over the country looking for work, and powers Morocco’s music and art scenes. I’m here for a month with FADER photo editor John Francis Peters and an international crew of six others. Music brought us. . .

excerpt 2:

This next tune is a song halfway between traditional Berber songs from rural Morocco—popularized in the 1970s by Le Comptoir’s main artist, Mohammed Rouicha—and our Auto-Tuned, pixelated tomorrow. It’s by Adil El Miloudi. Adil performs across Europe and tells me that this summer he’ll be making appearances in to Florida and Boston, for the first time. His breakthrough song, “Nothing Nothing”, has well over a million YouTube views. Adil lives in Kenitra and performs regularly at a Tangier nightclub called the Morocco Palace (free entrance but they gouge you on shisha and drink prices).

The Palace has a light-up disco dance floor and really good subwoofers. Everything else is covered in intricate Islamic pattern woodcarvings, except the enormous flatscreen TV right above the stage, which is set to a music video channel and is never, ever turned off, even when live bands are performing underneath it. Adil rolls around town with a phalanx of young guys whose primary duty seems to be handing him various cellphones at the appropriate moment. I know this because, after calling several of those phones, I found myself, along with Maga Bo, at Adil’s house at four in the morning a month ago. “This is Tom,” he said, pointing at his manager. “And this is Jerry,” he said, pointing at his cat.

Adil El Miloudi, “Track 2” by The FADER

MUDD UP BOOK CLUBB: CASABLANCA EDITION

The idea is simple: every six weeks or so we gather somewhere for informal talk centered around a good muddy book, then go eat delicious food. We’ll have a live Ustream feed so Cousin Internet and Miss Larry Antitroll can participate.

The inaugural edition will convene on a Casablanca rooftop, around late afternoon/sunset, about six weeks from now. Tea will be served; pastilla بسطيلة afterward — all you need to do is read the book.

Our selection: Maureen F. McHugh’s Nekropolis, a science fiction novel set in 22nd century Morocco involving biochemical slavery, immigration, genetic chimeras, and — last but not least — a new mode of sexuality. All written by a white American lady who has never set foot in Morocco! (And it shows, but that’s OK. Just don’t tell her that Fez doesn’t really have a necropolis) There’s more to say, but I’ll wait for the roof. (Thanks to Anne ‘Odalisqued‘ Boyer for the for the head’s up.)

For more summer reading: Beyond Digital Beach Books pt. 1.


Speaking of modulated Moroccan futures… here’s a now-thing chaabi stormer I bought in the big Casablanca souq — a bit further in I saw an Auto-tune hardware rack unit for sale! The song comes from fantastic recent varietes chaabia compilation CD Nojoum Wislane. I’ll write more about this CD later — it features a new development in Auto-Tune… — once I’m there I’ll be able to get sleuthy with the info. But for now, enjoy, this is very much what’s bumping in the Casa street these days:

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? (Mudd Unknown) – ? (Nojoum Wislane)

BEYOND DIGITAL BEACH BOOKS – part 1

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[photo by Beyond Digital’s Juan Alcón Durán]

We’re been putting a lot of work into preparing for the June stretch of Beyond Digital, when our team of eight people (and rising!) will converge in Casablanca, Morocco… Website coming soon, along with a proper update.

But for now: part one of the Beyond Digital Summer Reading List! An outpost of the Dutty Artz/Mudd Up Book Club. I’ve been asked a few times for some BD related texts, so here you go: a handful of books I’ve read recently that struck chords with how I’ve been thinking about BD, in one way or another.

 

BEYOND DIGITAL SUMMER READING LIST: part one

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1. Pitch Perfect, my Auto-Tune essay for Frieze magazine, originally published in 2009.

The best article on Auto-Tune or your money back… Carolyn (Beyond Digital’s Paris point person, who’ll be joining us in Casa) just conducted a video interview with Moroccan producer Wary, who makes an appearance here.

 

2.The Radicant – Nicolas Bourriaud

Yes, the “French science fiction writer” from Hennesey Youngman’s hilarious video. This book is cool though. St. Nic is all about translation. We’re into it. (So is Michael Larson.) Bourriaud writes: “Translation may represent that ‘basic ethical effort’ that has been mistakenly associated with recognition of the other as such. For translation always implies adapting the meaning of a proposition, enabling it to pass from one code to another, which implies a mastery of both languages but also implies that neither is self-evident.” The Radicant is a slim book (perfect for the subway), which explains why I can’t find it right now. Probably on my desk. . .

“As a critical methodology, multiculturalism resembles a system for distributing meaning that assigns individuals to their social demands, reduces their being to their identity, and repatriates all meaning toward an origin regarded as a political revealer. It is this critical model that is in crisis today, this multiculturalist version of cultural diversity that must be placed in question, not in favor of a systematic universalism or a new modernist Esperanto, but rather in the context of a new modern moment based on generalized translation, the form of wandering, an ethics of precariousness, and a heterochronic vision of history.”

 

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3. Bab El-Oued, Merzak Allouache

This is a novelization of Allouache’s Bab El-Oued City film. It’s not great — it’s not even set in Morocco — but hey, how you gonna be mad at a novel that opens with the theft of a mosque’s loudspeaker (a handsome young baker throws it into the sea) and chronicles its impact on a working class Maghrebi neighborhood? Allouache sketches a social realist panorama, with a subplot involving romance novel smuggling.

Coming in Part Two: one of the best books about music, ever (hint: Umm); non-annoying non-Beat avant-garde lit about the aftermath of a terrorist bombing written by an expat in Marrakesh; sci-fi set in Fez dealing with biological slavery and a new mode of sexuality; Appadurai’s ethnoscapes, and more…

In the meantime, some heat from the first volume of DJ Amine’s Maghreb Mix Party series:

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Bakr – N’reserve Wenelhagha

MILAN: DOMUS URBAN FUTURES

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This week is Design Week/International Furniture Fair in Milan, and I’ll be eating delicious #food then giving a special performance as part of Domus magazine’s week-long event series Urban Futures.

On Wednesday April, 13th, starting at 9pm, you can catch musician Giuseppe Ielasi (whose work may be familiar to listeners of my radio show), followed by DJ N-Ron and myself, bringing the party with video-projection accompaniment across a 28-meter long wall courtesy of dotdotdot‘s ‘architectural video mapping’. At the Salone 2011 (Opificio 31, Via Tortona 31).

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[dotdotdot’s rendering of their wild video wall]

Domus’s week of events looks fascinating. Includes talks on the Post-Oil City and The Open-Source City, bringing in heavyweights from OMA, MoMA, Fritz Haeg, and more. For the Twitter-view: @DomusWeb.

The Harlem Is Nowhere mix that I did with Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts early this year is part of Domus’s City Mixtape series. After Milan I return to Casablanca, where we’ll base the Beyond Digital project (instead of Marrakesh) this summer.

Casablanca is north Africa’s largest city. It’s big and gritty, center to Morocco’s music industry and art scenes… As well as an incredible vinyl spot, Le Comptoir Marocain de Distribution de Disques (26 ave. Lalla Yacout). Here’s a nice writeup on CMDD: pt 1|pt2 and some photos. One of the world’s great record shops!

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[Le Comptoir Marocain de Distribution de Disques, photo from Tales from Bradistan blog]

FATH ALLAH LAMGHARI فتح الله المغاري

A special shukran goes to Jared, who is translating song info! With his help we learn that this gorgeous tune by Moroccan singer فتح الله المغاري Fath Allah Lamghari is called رجال الله “Men of God”. This classic (’70s?) version can be found on an album of the same name. Below, a video clip demonstrates what happens when the trusty melody and his toupee get a teevee glitz overhaul.

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فتح الله المغاري Fath Alah Lamghari – رجال الله Men of God

TOUR HASSAN SIGHTINGS

I’m a week into this preliminary research trip for Beyond Digital – Rabat, Marrakesh, and tomorrow, Casablanca.

A huge thanks goes out to Marjana, her helpfulness and generosity have made this excursion far more efficient and amazing than would have otherwise been imaginable. Here’s a photo she took of me peering into the distance at Rabat’s Tour Hassan. The Atlantic meets the land in Rabat with a specific kind of rough poetry. I always enjoy seeing how cities deal with the bodies of water that touch them.

jace-tour-hassan-rabat-large

The last time I was in Morocco was twelve years ago. And then only briefly. I feel like I’ve changed more than the country has, which may be true of most places + people with a dozen years between visits.

Musically, this has been a rich trip. Learning a lot! One of today’s discoveries: Izenzaren إزنزرن, a kind of golden era Amazigh Nass el Ghiwane, spiritual godfathers to Oudaden, if that means anything to you… For reasons I have yet to discover, unlike Casa and Rabat, there are no MP3 CDs for sale in Marrakesh. It is all audio CDs! A surprise in today’s increasingly compressed times.

I’ve been recording some late-night radio as well as purchasing CDs — also sharing some music I have with those who want it here. Unfortunately I can’t rip or upload audio right now. For a muddy fix, tune in to my radio show tonight – Monday 7-8pm EST WFMU 91.1fm NYC, and check back here very soon for Maghrebi sounds. In the meantime, Youtube. Here’s Izenzaren: They sing in Amazigh and say YES to vocals through generous delay. Especially around 2:45, when someone sets it to a trippy half-second setting. So many ways to negotiate the relationship between body and voice. The last person I saw to sing through delay like that was Lizzie from Gang Gang.

After some meetings in Rabat, we drove to Marrakesh, where I’ve spent most of the week. Late night radio there (90.5 and 97.1 FM) sounds a bit like this, or at least it did yesterday. Abdelhadi Belkhiate عبد الهادي بالخياط. His ‘oriental’ style is a welcome reminder that the best Arab singers of the 60s and 70s got the best backing bands.

That’s all for now…

BEYOND DIGITAL: KICKSTARTER HOME STRETCH & ADIL EL MILOUDI

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I’m going into the wormhole. At least 120 of you are coming with me.

On Monday night at around 3AM, I received an email from our Barcelona point-man Carlos: I finally found out exactly who the guy is that sings that awesome Amazigh song that you played on Mudd Up! last night and is also on the Beyond Digital trailer thingy. It’s Cheb Adil El Miloudi (he says his name/big ups himself at the beginning of the song). I like his Dad-sweater!

Excited, I went over to the video, as nearly 1.5 million people had done before me:

Beyond Digital yielded its first fruits — my friend IDed an unknown singer on a semi-legit CD I purchased in Paris (containing no tracklist), and our favorite jam turned out to be that of a massively popular Amazigh vocalist – عادل الميلودي – with millions of Youtube pageviews and zero English-language biographical info online. CONTEXT! NAMING NAMES!

Even better: as I listened to his song, I learned that our Kickstarter project had just reached its funding goal! Which is a wonderful affirmation of not only Beyond Digital but the collaborative aspect of it that “crowdsourcing” (but we’re not a crowd, it’s more of an open community; the distinction is key) brings to the forefront. More generally, I feel like we’re all exploring this stuff together…via discussions on blogs and face-to-face recording sessions, via giving musicians props and excavating useful info, by being careful listeners and enthusiastic newcomers (like me) and in countless others ways — supporting this particular project among them.

As of this evening, more than a hundred people have contributed, ranging from $1 donations to some wise kids near Philly who pitched in $1500, a sum that secures them a DJ Rupture party there next month…

And it’s not too late to help out.

We’ve got 6 days left on the Kickstarter, so act fast if you would like to get mailed 3 extra-awesome CDs from Marrakesh ($25) or want Maga Bo and I to make a mixtape whose theme/topic/angle you pick ($750), or desire any of the other rewards — from an original photographic print by John Francis Peters to the have-Rupture-play-yr-party #swag #afrosheen option.

As we mention, the Kickstarter goal covers just a portion of our budget. We’re being super-efficient & frugal with our expenses, gearing up to do the maximum on a shoestring budget. Grant applications and other fundraising options are in process, as is the move to become a proper non-profit organization so we can continue Beyond Digital well beyond our June time in Marrakesh.

What I’m saying is: we can still use your support, we’ll put it to good use, and we would like to offer a huge thanks to everyone who has donated or helped spread the word thus far.

To close, here’s another Abil El Miloudi video. This one is more like the song from our Kickstarter video: Abil El Miloudi’s auto-tune vocals shimmer above bird songs (Amazigh pop loves rural signifiers and so do I) and the lovely, root-like (in appearance) acoustic guitar-type instrument called an ‘utar’ (my extremely limited Arabic/Tamazigh vocabulary gets transliterated into Spanish phonetic spelling, that’s how I learned from Abdel and Khalid in Barcelona, sorry!).

BEYOND DIGITAL: MOROCCO

Earlier this year I tweeted: New Africa Proverb #137: It takes a village to make a crazed Auto-Tune fieldwork docu-art project. Well, I wasn’t kidding.

I’m teaming up with Maga Bo, Fader magazine photo editor John Francis Peters, and Taliesen Gilkes-Bower to explore musical innovation in Morocco via collaboration, teaching, documentation, and digital storytelling. It’s a monthlong art project, going down in & around Marrakesh this June.

Our focus? How creative adaptations of global digital technologies in Morocco — such as Auto-Tune use in Berber folk music — are helping to transform youth culture and suggesting powerful alternatives to Western concepts of digital literacy. To learn more & help out :
Beyond Digital: Morocco

FESMAATIC

Künstlerisch wird die Zukunft eine hochspannende Angelegenheit sein! digitaleevolution djrupture christophvoy spex321

German magazine Spex has a long interview with me in their current issue. On “Digital Evolution”, masterpieces, hard disk failure and forgetting, and music biz economics in the 00s. (Or at least I think that’s what it’s about, we did the interview back in February…)

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it’s true: “DJ /rupture to release new mix album“. title: Solar Life Raft. Co-produced with Matt Shadetek, about 30% of it is original material & remixes from us. Link has some tracklist & other info.

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Jem Cohen just returned from Tangier, where he was doing a special project with Luc Sante! (whose Low Life is a must for New York underbelly reading). Jem kindly brought back a stack of CDs for me, including some hard-to-find 70s requests…

Here are two tracks from the bunch. Fes Maatic, a chaabi group I’d never encountered. Moroccan chaabi bands play like a DJ, all the songs segue into each other, it’s a work of groove and momentum.

I miss proximity to this music.

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Fes Maatic